Gail Orcutt Obituary

Gail  Orcutt
Gail Orcutt

May 7, 1953 - May 19, 2020
Born in Iowa
Resided in Altoona, Iowa
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Gail Orcutt was born on May 7, 1953 in Carroll, Iowa to parents Cyril and Phyllis (Meisheid) Friedman. She grew up in Carroll and graduated from Kuemper High School. She received bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa and her master’s degree from Viterbo University. She was united in marriage to William “Bill” Orcutt on April 25, 1981 in Waterloo, Iowa. She worked as a teacher for 33 years in the communities of Waterloo, Norwalk, and Des Moines, Iowa and retired in 2008. Gail was a master gardener and enjoyed quilting and playing golf.

In 2010, Gail was diagnosed with lung cancer. She never smoked and she did not work in a smoking environment. She soon learned from her doctors that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. At this time, Gail, being a true educator, began her journey in teaching the public, health care providers, and state legislators about radon and was an advocate for radon testing and mitigation to prevent lung cancer. It’s been Gail's hope that every Iowan would know that radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer and that testing and mitigating is a simple home improvement. Dealing with radon is cancer prevention. 5 out of 7 homes in Iowa have an unacceptable level of radon. An acceptable level is 2.0 pC/L or less. A mitigation system can often be paid for with pretax dollars from a flex or HSA account. Test your home with a DIY kit every two years. Call the Iowa Radon Hotline at 800-383-5992 to order a kit or get answers to any questions.

Gail is survived by her husband, Bill; step sons, Jeremy (Elizabeth) Orcutt and Tobin (Malissa) Orcutt; four grandchildren, Eliana, Jacqueline, Kalianna, and Bredan; siblings, Sharon (Tom) Lebo, Lisa (Dan) Walz, Bill (Veva) Friedman, Brian (Christine) Friedman and Allen (Kim Young) Friedman. She was preceded in death by her parents and a sister, Amy Neumayer.

Bill and Gail have established a fund to raise awareness and help lower income Iowans mitigate their homes from radon. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to the Orcutt Radon Reduction Foundation Fund, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, 1915 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa, 50309 or by visiting

Per Gail’s wishes, her body has offered donated to Des Moines University. A memorial gathering to celebrate her life will be held when we know it is safe to gather, at Iles Grandview Park Chapel.




Funeral Home
Grandview Park Funeral Home
3211 Hubbell Avenue
Des Moines, IA US 50317